With the royal baby set to arrive in mere weeks, the Duchess of Cambridge appears to be straying from the growing trend of caesarean births, opting instead for a natural childbirth, royal sources say.

Middleton, whose expected due date is two weeks away, has made it known that she will let nature take its course -- unless safety deems otherwise -- in a private wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London.

Many found her choice surprising, given that planned C-sections have become the norm in recent years. C-section rates in developed countries have been rising to where more than a quarter of all babies are now delivered surgically. Some are medically necessary, but others are for convenience.

According to a Canadian Institute for Health information report, the national rate in Canada in 2010-2011 was at approximately 18 per cent of all births.

In the U.S., the rate of C-sections has recently levelled off. Approximately a third of births were C-sections, with that number remaining relatively unchanged in 2011, according to new figures.

In 2012, England marked a slight increase in caesarean births, with the overall rate pegged at 25 per cent.

Surgery carries a risk of infection and a longer recovery period, says Elizabeth Brandeis, vice-president of the Association of Ontario Midwives.

“It’s a choice that’s based on very good evidence that the overuse of medical technology doesn’t improve outcomes and I think the duchess is a smart woman who is making an informed choice,” Brandeis told CTV News.

Jo Arnott, who delivered her baby boy naturally, said she hopes the duchess follows through.

“I think it just empowers women in general to know that somebody of her stature and her title is capable of doing this and she can make the choice for what is right for her,” Arnott said.

However, the British, who are taking bets on everything from the baby’s gender to hair colour, are betting she’ll change her mind.

Says Rupert Andrews, spokesperson at William Hill Online Betting: “All of the money is (on) a caesarean section.”

With a report by CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and Elizabeth St. Philip